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Distribution of Dormant Accounts fund must remain independent – Stanley

5 July, 2012 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government Brian Stanley TD has this afternoon called on Minister Hogan to ensure that Dormant Accounts do not become a slush fund for the department’s pet projects.

Speaking during the Dáil debate on the Dormant Account's Bill, Deputy Stanley said;

“This bill aims to dismantle the independent Dormant Accounts Board and move the remaining €100 million into the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government.

“Sinn Féin has serious concerns with the bill. This is totally unacceptable to anyone who supports transparency and accountability. The Dormant Accounts Board has overseen the funding of over 4,000 projects since 2001. It has ensured that projects tackling social exclusion, the drugs crisis and promoting inter-culturalism received funding.

“This funding was of no cost to the exchequer. It was monies untouched in bank accounts, An Post accounts and building societies. The Board operates at arm’s reach of any department. This legislation, if passed, will change all that.

“The bill will dissolve the board and transfer all functions to the Minister for the Environment. The minister will only have to consult with four fellow government ministers when administering the fund.

“This legislation is a blunt and crude instrument for distributing funding to the community sector. This sector has a long and proud history of independence. The funding mechanism will no longer be separate to the minister's office and may well end up funding only those who do not challenge government policy.

“It is vital that there is an independent funding process for the community sector. This bill, if passed, is an attempt to block that independence.

“Minister Hogan must not allow the dormant accounts to become a slush fund for his department’s pet projects.” ENDS

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